One thing that the corona virus could not stop is the BCSA’s annual writing competition. Indeed, it may have made it even better in 2021, for we had a very good crop of quality entries. As always, they came from across the world. We had entries from India and Japan, for example, as well as from our three home countries of Slovakia, Czechia and Britain. Switzerland was a first for us this year.

Covid was the suggested theme in this year’s competition. We got a range of interpretations.

Among these we have a lovely picture of a family having to meet by Zoom because lockdown meant that they couldn’t travel to see each other.

In another, with Caroline from Lincolnshire we get vaccinated at the O2 arena in Prague, and compare her memories of living in the city in 1991 with what it is like today.

We share the thoughts of a daughter as she flouts Britain’s lockdown travel rules to take her Czechoslovak father’s ashes to the sea, as she recalls finding his old RAF uniform in an old suitcase, and how as a teenager she had striven to form her own identity.

An amazing family history is told by 95-year-old Eliška, separated by covid from her family in a Manchester care home. She thinks back to 1841 and to her grandmother Hana, who was a friend of Božena Němcová, and the rural traditions shown in Babička. Eliška also reflects on her family’s move to England in 1937, how she raised her own family and how they related to their Czech heritage.